Monday, 23 December 2013

Running through the forest & mince pies :)

Ahhh, it’s nearly Christmas woooo :-)

I have been feeling particularly festive today. A friend from my old local running club asked me along on a trail run with a club of local runners - The Delamere Spartans - who do a lot of running on the trail. So, I got up early & he picked me up and we drove to Delamere Forest, which is about 15 minutes away, but really rural and very popular with cyclists, runners and dog walkers.

Mega sleepy eyes...

I was promised tea and cake at the end, so I was determined to join them... So, we arrived at one of the forest car parks for 8.30ish am and met all the other runners and we did a really lovely undulating 5 ½ mile run through the forest and off the beaten track. We also ran up some hills and went over some stiles and ran up by some farmland also. I had such a great time. It was so much prettier and more challenging than running up by the main road all of the time. However, I did go out for a nice run yesterday evening and I got caught in the torrential downpour, and that was pretty fun. I expected there to be lots of mud on the trail today. It was indeed pretty muddy, but there is nothing better than running off road and coming back with your legs splattered in mud :-)

There were so many nice people out and about this morning as well and friendly walkers saying ‘Merry Christmas’.

At the end of the run, one of the members who hadn't joined us on the run had pulled up his car in the car park and in his boot he had massive containers of tea and coffee, homemade mince pies and some Christmas cake. It was an awesome idea. I will definitely be going running lots more with these guys in 2014 for sure.

So, now I’m sat at home, chilling out with a bottle of Doombar. I’ve packed most of my stuff for London tomorrow, although I did have a stress before and I’m a little bit concerned about these supposed stormy winds and torrential rain that is forecast. The Virgin Trains website says there will be major disruption and my train is booked for 2.35pm, but their Twitter feed and website says that no restrictions will apply on advance tickets and that we can get any train tomorrow, preferably as early as possible, to avoid disruptions. So, I did some manic packing and I’m going to get the 7.35am train into London :-)

Well I hope everyone has a lovely and amazing Christmas, with lots of scrumptious food, some nice festive running and lots of loveliness.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Running: It's not just for Christmas...

Take a look in any women’s magazine or female targeted newspaper/ internet article at the moment and all you seem to get is advice on ‘How To Fit Into That LBD (little black dress)’, ‘How To Burn Off Those Mince Pies’, 'Planning Your Low Carb Christmas'  or  'Drop A Dress Size For The Party Season’. It all makes for rather depressing and repetitive reading...

Don’t get me wrong, I originally started to run to help me lose weight years ago. There was a lot of weight to lose. But I always told myself that I wanted to do something positive with the weight loss. I don’t believe in diets. They are simply not sustainable long-term. I didn’t want to live my life counting absolutely every crumb that I consumed. Instead, I decided to change my entire lifestyle and running became a major part of my life and who I am. 

I feel the same way about advice given to women in magazines during the summer, advising us how to ‘Look fab in an itsy bitsy bikini’. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look attractive or feel great, but quick fixes sadden me. It worries me to think of the after effects of such restrictive diets; to think of people punishing themselves, only to momentarily lose weight and then 'fall off the wagon' and pile on even more. Weight loss isn’t just for Christmas... (Or summer). I read a Daily Mail article - - entitled 'Tis the season to get jogging: Women will have to run for five hours to burn off the calories consumed on Christmas Day’ and although slightly intriguing, my main thoughts were ‘For goodness sake, it’s bloody Christmas, live a little!’ 

My other thoughts prompted me to think of how grateful I am that running is what I absolutely love to do all year. I don’t have some dreaded obligation hung around my neck. I would quite willingly go out and run for 5+ hours because I enjoy it. So I say, let’s all enjoy Christmas, eat lots of dins, be merry, make the best of ourselves, enjoy what we love and be happy. 

Sleepy eyed

And to those who don’t have an active hobby now, seek something out that you would love to try this New Year and don’t be intimidated by phrases such as ‘change of lifestyle’ – it could be the best thing that ever happens to you...

Monday, 9 December 2013

Running Under Darkness.

Now, I’m not a morning person by any means. I’m also not the most organised person in the world by any means. But, a strange thing has occurred over the last few weeks and I have found myself making lots of lists and actually (religiously) marking down things and goals in my calendar. This week I have taken it one step further by utilising a little app on my mobile and colour coding lots of tasks (and adding in lots of cute picture icons like snowmen...). 

Another miraculous thing to come out of this is that I have been going running at 6am many mornings. I know you’re all shocked, you should be.  I am. And more alarmingly I have found that I absolutely love it. I love running when it’s dark outside. Its one of the best bits of ultra-running, that night section followed by the glorious sunrise.

I’m no stranger to evening running, but I find that as much as I love running, getting myself through that door and out into the cold evening air later on in the day can be a struggle. So, morning running has been my best form of defence against my reluctance to un-snuggle myself off of the sofa. Fellow runners also seem to be pretty friendly in the morning – not that I normally always encounter grumpy runners – and it’s a nice start to the day to exchange a simple ‘Good morning’ whilst out running. 

This morning's 6am-er was full of interesting bird noises, like all the birdies were talking to each other. One bird sounded like a ringing telephone and another boisterous group of birdies sounded like they were wolf whistling. Lots of smiles were brought to my face. So, my thoughts for today are that early morning running is a brilliant way to go. Try it. I love it and I’m a nocturnal night runner ;-)